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So you want to record a record

Here are some things to think about

Pacific Studios

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Once your band has been together for a while, after you've worked up a bit of material, the next logical step is to put it all on record. But it's a big and kind of scary step. Even at relatively cheap studios, you're going to be throwing down a considerable amount of money - especially for a starving rock band. You need to be sure that the product that will result will be satisfactory (read: you need to be sure that you're not getting scammed).

I ventured down to Pacific Studios in downtown Tacoma to get the skinny on what one needs to look for in a recording studio.

"You need someone who has experience and knows what you're going for," says Mark Simmons, owner of Pacific Studios since its inception in 1998, in reference to the recording studio's personnel. "If they're producing, they need to know, and if they're engineering they should at least have a good quality-control kind of way of recording, like going for certain tones or whatever it is."

Simmons' studio, like most, will provide a producer at the artist's request. Simmons continues, "The room [that you record in] is really important-not so important if you're doing a hip-hop project, but if you're doing a rock project, you really want a good room for drums sounds, etcetera."

Another good bit of advice is that you need to be prepared. Recording your song will be a lot different than your experience performing it. "Be efficient at what you record," Simmons says. "If you have to learn how to record in the studio it really makes for a long session."

"I think that often people come in with a perception that however long their set is, that's how long it'll take to record," says Shane Lance, one of the engineers at Pacific Studios and lead-singer of Roman Holiday, a band born out of the recording studio. "It's such an elaborate process that that tends to be a naïve way to look at it. Know your songs, and be ready to put the time in to make it a product that you're proud of."

But that's not always so easy to do. Time is money - especially time in the studio. At a legitimate and professional recording studio, like Pacific Studios, the cost will be somewhere in the $500 range for a full day of recording. In their smaller room, it's $400. That's 10 hours of recording time, which, depending on your project, may be all you need. And at reputable studios, the engineers will generally put in a little extra time if necessary just make sure a project gets finished.

But that's still a lot of money, especially if you need more than a day.

I'm told by the people at Pacific Studios that, on a couple of cases, they've managed to work out a smaller payment plan for people who are really financially strapped.

What it comes down to is finding a recording studio that can really empathize with the artist. Sure these people may be running a business, but it never escapes them that they are facilitating the creation of art.

And when all is said and done, Mark Simmons sums it up best: "I mean, the song is the most important thing. If you don't have a good song, it doesn't matter where you record it."

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Comments for "So you want to record a record" (2)

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Joe Izenman said on Jan. 26, 2010 at 9:36am

This Shirt Is Pants recorded a four song CD at Pacific Studios. It was certainly not cheap, but it was a positive experience for all of us. Our producer, Tony, was both professional and fun, and definitely put in the extra hours mixing and mastering, beyond what we paid, even taking the project home at one point to use some software plug-ins the studio didn't have.

My biggest recommendation is just to be really tight, especially on the drums. You can get away with a lot of unsteadiness and tempo issues live that won't stand up at all to repeated listening on a recording. You can use up a lot of expensive time, and get sick of playing your songs, if you have to repeat them ten times to get a steady drum track.

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Richard Snider said on Mar. 30, 2010 at 1:26am

These guys can do some pretty amazing junk. Say you don't have song, but you have a powerpoint presentation for your company and you need to do a voice-over for, then sync it up with a sound track in the background... they'll do that for you, and it will come out great. I highly recommend this crew to anyone.

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